Customer service isn’t just about gaining customer loyalty, it’s about respect, it’s about word of mouth and that CEO “Bob” telling his other CEO friend, “Dan” that your company is simply the best. But at what point does Bob tell Dan that? How many “acts of customer service” do you have to perform? Here are 5 tips to get that five-star rating for “best customer service.”

Be an expert — If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t act like you do! Remember that saying when you were younger, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Your customer is going to lose faith in your services if you decide to “fib” your way out of something. Pass their information along to another representative who can better answer their question.

78% of customers say that competent service reps are what contribute the most to a happy experience. — American Express Survey, 2011

Be memorable — people who go the extra mile are remembered in the long run. Hey, you might not be the company that they decide to do business within the end (maybe the price isn’t right etc.), but you’ve left a lasting impression that is going to be tough for your competitors to beat. You’d be surprised at the number of people who pay more upfront for better customer service.

In 2011, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service — American Express Survey, 2011

Being Human Is Good — Think about it like this. Remember that elementary school teacher that mimicked the Peanut characters by just saying wah wah wah wah wah (or at least it sounded like that). Who the heck wants to listen to that when they are calling into your company? A customer wants someone personable, understanding, and yes, even sympathetic to some degree.

By far, the most requested improvement from customers was “Better Human Service” at 40% — “The Cost of Poor Customer Service” by Genesys Global Survey, 2009

Listen — I know it’s tough if someone is on the other end of the line screaming at the top of their lungs, but — chances are that they really don’t want to switch services, they just want to see that you care (that you’re paying attention). It’s kind of like a relationship — why move on to someone else when you’ve already put so much time into one person. Treat your customers like you would want to be treated.

According to consumers, customer service agents failed to answer their [consumers] questions 50% of the time. — Harris Interactive

Don’t be this guy ↓

Be quick to respond — there’s nothing worse than writing or calling into a company and hearing “your inquiry is very important to us, a representative will be with you shortly.” 8 days later… you get a response. Customers want to feel as if they are valued [even though you may have 10k plus customers, it doesn’t matter], they want to feel like they’re your only customer.

Resolve a complaint in the customer’s favor and they will do business with you again 70% of the time. — Lee Resources

Bottom line, your customers don’t want to feel like they are at the bottom of the barrel. The best customer service takes time and commitment from your employees, but in the end, it’s worth it.

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. — White House Office of Consumer Affairs